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Shoulder Pain

Ramponi, Denise R. DNP, FNP-BC, FAEN, CEN

Section Editor(s): Ramirez, Elda G. PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP; Column Editor

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal: April/June 2011 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 114–126
doi: 10.1097/TME.0b013e318217c983

Shoulder pain is a frequent complaint encountered in the emergency setting. A brief review of shoulder anatomy and physical examination sets the foundation for evaluation of shoulder pain. Considerations of patient's age are helpful to predict injuries. Fractured clavicles are often seen in traumatic injuries in children and young adults, whereas fractures of the humeral head are more often seen in the elderly from traumatic injuries. Shoulder dislocations are more common in teens to fourth decade. This article reviews specific acute injuries, chronic conditions, and radiologic considerations of patients with shoulder complaints encountered in emergency settings.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania. We thank David Brous & Frank Vieira for illustrations.

Corresponding Author: Denise R. Ramponi, DNP, FNP-BC, FAEN, CEN, Robert Morris University, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.